50. The Dear Hunter - Act II A great example of a concept album (and band for that matter) that actually works. When I first listened to these guys I couldn't quite stomach the music but after a few spins and witnessing a live performance I became a fan.
49. John Butler Trio - Grand National
Great summer album. The trio seems to dip into a few more genres with this one yet still maintain their earthy feel.
Favorite Tracks: Daniella, Caroline, Groovin' Slowly
48.theSTART - Ciao, Baby Its a shame I took so long to give this album a good spin otherwise it could easily jumped a few spots. I'd describe it as synthy 80s dark pop. Incredibly catchy. For fans of older Madonna, Joy Division.
47. Future of Forestry - Twilight Spacey, uplifting, christian rock. What really grabbed my attention were the atmospheres these guys create via guitarwork, various keys/synths.
Favorite Tracks: Twilight, Speak To Me Gently, You And I
46. Rose Kemp - A Hand Full Of Hurricanes Her haunting and beautiful vocals drew me in. The instrumentation itself is simple yet somehow the music still remains inventive via unconventional song structures, creative pedal effects, and various electronic additions.
45. Red Fox Grey Fox - From the Land of Bears, Ice and Rock The Is-That-A-Guy-Or-A-Girl vocals were a bit hard to get used to but end up complimenting the music nicely. Not so sure that they would be very good live but its besides the point.
Favorite Tracks: Building a Building, Bring Back The Coast
44. InMe - Daydream Anonymous Fast-paced guitar, effect laden basswork, and unique vocals put these guys on the radar for me.
43. Panacea - The Scenic Route Great jazzy hip-hop. Not the deepest lyrically but them beats just keep me groovin'.
42. Fightstar - One Day Son This Will All Be Yours It's heavy but not metal heavy, with screeching breakdowns, chugging riffs. There are also some great melodic intros and bridges as well as some heartfelt softer songs. The song structures are fairly straightforward but still satisfying. I'd reccomend it to people who are looking for something heavy without diving into the dark territory that metal often brings.
Favorite Tracks: One Day Son, One Last Common Ancestor, Unfamiliar Ceilings
41. The Sea and Cake - Everybody One of my favorite summer albums of the year. Soft vocals, warm acoustic strings, and simple drum beats all synergize for those hot lazy days at the lake.
40. Oh My God - Fools Want Noise I hadn't heard anything previous to Fools Want Noise but after hearing this i'll definately be making that journey. Very fun album full of entertaining lyrics, distorted guitar, and blips of electronic key work.
Favorite Tracks: Facewash, Fools Want Noise
39. The Six Parts Seven - Casually Smashed To Pieces Probably my favorite summer album this year. It contains no hooks, nothing grabs you immediately, yet this slow and flowing brass-dabbled, western-tinged post-rock manages to draw you in.
38. Stateless - Stateless Radiohead meets Massive Attack....enough said.
Favorite Tracks: Bloodstream, Prism #1
37. The Receiving End Of Sirens - The Earth Sings Mi Fa Mi TREOS basically went in a more spacy and electronic direction with this album and were better for it. If they continue on in the same direction they might manage to stay in the picture of bands pushing the electronic/rock barrier.
Favorite tracks: The Heir Of Empty Breath, Swallow People Whole , The Salesman/The Husband/The Lover
36. Cue - Wedding Song Phenomenal and sometimes atypical violin work take center stage in this album. Solid chugging basslines and frantic-but-together drumwork craft a wonderfully uplifting and exciting release.
35. Minus the Bear - Planet of Ice Didn't really enjoy anything previous besides track names but MtB have created a gem (that in all likelyhood could be ranked higher if not for lack of listens). Electronic work is nicely threaded in.
Favorite Tracks: Ice Monster, Throwin' Shapes
34. God Is An Astronaut - Far From Refuge I've always had a bit of a soft spot for GIA as they were one of the first groups that got me into instrumental/post-rock. The drumming is as good as ever but they seemed to have strayed from the use of alot of synths. This does not, however, affect the album in a negative way. They more than make up for it with alternate electronic bits and great use of traditional piano.
Favorite Tracks: Sunrise in Aries, Grace Decending
33. Deas Vail - All Of The Houses Look The Same Great piano-driven emotional rock album. The guitar/piano work creates some wonderful atmospheres and make perfect room for the high-ranged vocals.
Favorite Tracks: Shoreline, Follow Sound, Life In These Little Boats
32. ayin - The Persistant Divide Re-listening to bits of this while I write I'm really excited to hear what direction they will take next album. Their slower spacy rock feel is complimented with the perfect amount of computer generated additions. Add a bit of piano to the mix and we have a winner.
Favorite Tracks: TheUnexpected/TheObvious, Chemical Dependance
31. 65daysofstatic - The Destruction of Small Ideals Speaking of computer generated.........these guys have been at the forefront of pioneering the fusion of electronic/IDM/rock music of late. This album has been criticized for its production (or lack of) but i've found it gave the music a more raw, live feel.
30. Anberlin - Cities Brushing up on older albums it seems these guys just get better and better at crafting solid hard edged alt-rock songs.
Favorite Tracks: Godspeed, Dismantle/Repair, *fin
29. The American Dollar - The Technicolor Sleep One of the first post-rock albums I heard this year and I was impressed. I find it to be a really versatile release as its one that you can potentially sleep to as well as bust out on a run or such. Many song have a very nice soothing ambient feel to them (mostly contributed to soft key work and electronic dabbles) but also contain soaring finishes anchored by crashing drums.
Favorite Songs: Supernova Landslide, Signaling Through The Flames
28. Justice - t I'll admit I was a bit hesitant to give this album a spin after all the fanboy/fangirl hype it was getting. After doing so though I was impressed. Sure Justice doesn't really cover any new ground with this Daft Punk-esque musicraft but it definately satisfies that euro-clubber in me.
Favorite Tracks: Let There Be Light, Phantom Pt. I/II
27. Hopesfall - The Magnetic North I love the direction the former screamo/hardcore group are going. More melody.....less abrasive vocals.
Favorite Tracks: Swamp Kittens, Cubic Zorkonias
26. Fair to Midland - Fables From a Mayfly: What I Tell You Three Times is TrueWhat a great way to be introduced to this band. Its really hard to pinpoint their sound but bands such as Dredg, SOAD, The Apex Theory, Muse, TMV, and Faith No More have been thrown around. It really has something for everyone.
Favorite Tracks: The Wife/The Kids/And The White Picket Fence, Walls Of Jericho
25. pg.lost - Yes I Am pg.lost doesn't do anything out of the ordinary and don't claim to be pushing the borders of music by any means. They do however stick within the boundries and do it well. I still cannot get enough of the extremely melodic and beautiful opening track. Great use of melody, sampling in this release.
24. Port Blue - The Airship Sleep album of the year. Great keys/atmosphere/samples combination. The best part about this album is that the artist is offering it up for free on the net. Its a loose concept album following life on a 1930s airship. If anything just listen to the last track, At Anchor, once.
Favorite Tracks: Up Ship!, Mr. Chen/Sailmaker, At Anchor
23. Nightwish - Dark Passion Play As I heard mentioned before, anything previous to Dark Passion Play seems way too overdone and over the top. This said, DPP is attention grabbing orchestrated metal at its best. On my initial listen I only planned on really playing the first few tracks but soon found myself immersed within the beautiful storytelling that these guys create. Epic.
Favorite Tracks: The Poet and the Pendulum, Eva , Sahara
22. Tunturia - Maps Its hard to write fresh definitions of post-rock groups. They all seem to use the same types of musical approaches yet somehow still draw us in aurally. Tunturia is another instrumental group based around soft melodies, clever sampling, and big breakdowns. The drum work is simple but fits. The guitar work toys with harmonics which adds a very nice touch to the slower songs.
Favorite Tracks: Panic Attack, Cast Shadows On Clouds, Lost In The Hidden Forest
21. Immanu El - They'll Come They Come Take the vocals of Jeniferever and musical approach of Ef minus the breakdowns. "Immanu El's "They'll come, they come" is unquestionably a forceful and substantial album; an effort that probes sections of our musical consciousness that have fallen into shadow and been ignored too long." Pretentious? Maybe. But I agree.
20. David Ford - Songs for the Road I stumbled upon this album while browsing a music blog and couldn't believe I hadn't discovered him earlier. His somber,candid, sometimes depressing lyrics contrast the beautiful, earthy instrumentation. Violin and piano play a big part in creating the moods in this album as well without crowding the songs.
Favorite Tracks: Go To Hell, Song For The Road, Decimate
19. Eluvium - Copia Beautiful in its purest sense. I'm not largely familiar with genres but I would consider this album to span the shoegaze/soundscape/ambient spectrum quite nicely. It is perfectly injected with piano and classical bits. The term wall-of-sound comes to mind but in a more passive sense than its typical use in post-rock (the layering is also done with what sounds like electronic keys as opposed to guitar). Another wonderful sleepy time album.
18. Miracle Fortress - Five Roses This man is brilliant and talented. Its hard to believe that this music is the product of one human. The best description i've come across: wall of sound pop songs in the vein of MBV and The Beach Boys. " Miracle Fortress makes me feel like i'm flying." I concur.
Favorite Songs: Five Roses, Maybe Lately (uncanny resemblence to a certain Beach Boys song), Beach Baby
17. Maserati - Inventions for the New Season Maserati bring an interesting tweak to the typical building cresendos of post-rock. I find that they basically build and layer on one particular beat before completely busting out and blowing your ears off. Great basslines.
16. Lis Er Stille - apathobviousHigh energy rock ballads, haunting vocals, soft piano and strings, great build-up.......this album tells a story and takes the listener on a journey. Lis Er Stille was originally founded to put music to paintings so you can understand how they developed the way they did. Great concept.
15. Moving Mountains - Pneuma It's hard to believe these kids are still in highschool. Moving Mountains bridge the gap between emo-core and post-rock with this release and do it well. Layered vocals backed by steady drumlines and screeching guitars provide much for the listener aurally while softer songs give a feel-good intermission. Can't wait to see what the next release brings.
Favorite Tracks: Alastika, Cover The Roots/Lower The Stems, Sol Solis
14. Kiss Kiss - Reality vs. the Optimist I suppose the best definition of these guys would be circus-rock. I absolutely love the emotion and energy the vocals bring to the music.....perfectly suited. Fun, mischievous violin compliments the stop-go drum and guitar style. I hope I can experience these guys live down the road sometime.
Favorite Tracks: Satellite, Janet, The Cats In Your House
13. Explosions in the Sky - All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone First off, I'm not an EITS fanboy by anymeans. I respect that they pioneered much of the post-rock crusade but I've never really been much of a fan. This said, the newest album is beautifully made. It was a breath of fresh air to see them taking a more energetic approach to some songs (mostly noticeably the opening track). The soft parts are heartfelt and the heavier bits are equally as moving. Emotional portrayal is huge in post-rock. This album proves that EITS can still make quality, moving, music.
Favorite Tracks: The Birth and Death Of The Day, It's Natural To Be Afraid
12. Biffy Clyro - Puzzle These guys make an amazing amount of noise for a three-piece. The guitar and bass work on this album is creative yet simple.....fun but still retaining a hard-edge. Everyone in the band contributes vocally but most of the singing falls on the guitarist Simon Neil's shoulders. This makes for a very entertaining live show.
Favorite Tracks: A Whole Child Ago, Living Is A Problem Because Everything Dies, Get Fucked Stud
11. Olafur Arnalds - Eulogy For Evolution Beautiful string-laden piano ballads with more recent indie influence makes for an extremely engaging listen. Emotion oozes from every part of this album. If it weren't such a strong year for music this album could have easily made it top 5. " Beautiful in the same way Antarctica is."
Favorite Tracks: 0040, 3055, 3704/3837
10. Strata - Presents The End Of The World There is an obvious dredg influence all over the guitarwork on this album but it is by no means a cheap knockoff. Strata brings its own lyrical and musical flavor to the table. Great blend of soft/hard song structure and lead singer Eric Victorino has wonderful range to suit every different mood the album brings.
9. Wintersleep - Welcome To The Night Sky A huge step up from previous albums. There are loads of sing along verses and choruses. The UK influenced vocals provide an interesting flair and there is a huge variety of song structures that always keep you on your toes. Vague enough? Just check it out.
Favorite Tracks: Archaeologists, Oblivion, Miasmal Smoke & The Yellow Bellied Freaks
8. Kaddisfly - Set Sail the Prairie Hype, hype, hype. Another one of those albums I was weary to listen to due to fandom. Good thing I did. The hooks in this album are endless, the drumming is crisp and the guitar/pedal work set perfect moods. Lyrically its good to see a positive and honest message being sent out in an age where it is much needed.
Favorite Tracks: Campfire, Via Rail, Empire
7. Oceansize - Frames It's pretty hard to follow up two great albums such as Effloresce and Everyone Into Position but Oceansize brought out another gem. They return to a more personal and self-indulgent place with Frames. The themes are darker and its definately less radio-friendly than EIP ('size admitted sacrificing a bit of creativity for a bit more exposure on EIP) but this doesn't affect the product one bit. The drumming is still as dynamic as ever (and the highlight of the album for me). The use of keys is a great step in the evolution of the band as well, with it creating wonderful atmospheres and paving the way for the honed guitar work.
Favorite Tracks: Unfamiliar, Trail Of Life, The Frame
6. Circa Survive - On Letting Go Multitudes of spacy pedal effects, tight drumming, the high vocal range of Anthony Green......Circa Survive is something else. I couldn't get into Juturna but wow is this album ever something. Green's sing-along ballads coupled with lush, beefy, psychedelic, spaced out effects take their live shows and this album to the next level. I wish i had a better grasp of the english language so i could properly describe what this album does to my senses.
Favorite Tracks: Living Together, Mandala, Kicking Your Crosses Down
5. Sylvan - PresetsEmotional prog-rock at its finest. The dynamic of instrumentation, lyrics, and vocals all switching in and out, taking turns being beautiful, uplifting, and dark all at once creates incredible and moving experience in every song.
Favorite Tracks: Signed Away, Words From Another Day, Presets
4. Porcupine Tree - Fear of a Blank Planet The musicianship of this band blows me away. In most bands there seems to be one or two stand out musicians that act as the glue holding the group together. Porcupine Tree individually and collectively are amazing at what they do. I experienced this first hand at my first PTree show a few months back and it is very evident in FOABP as well. While my only knock is the length of the album itself, the content is spectacular. Based around the 17 min prog-gold track Anesthetize, the album hits every high and low spot from grinding riffs to slow introspective ballads.
Favorite Tracks: Anesthetize, Sentimental, Way Out Of Here
3. Aereogramme - My Heart Has a Wish That You Would Not Go My top 3 were on constant shuffle for top spot and I was almost sure this one would win out but nay. It doesn't take away from the content at all.......the top 2 were just THAT good is all. It's a shame these guys had to break up at what seemed to be the pinnacle of their career music-wise. This is absolute gold for the soul. I base alot of my ranking on how an album makes me feel emotionally and the ability to bring those emotions out through the music (this may explain my attraction to many of the post-rock artists out there). This album brings out so much of that in myself. You can tell that these guys poured themselves into this album. I can find at least one part in every song that moves me in ways that being in love, losing someone close to you, a first kiss, spite, and victory make you feel emotionally. These dudes had it down...........is it too early for a reunion tour?
Favorite Tracks: Exits, Barriers, Trenches, You're Always Welcome
2. Editors - An End Has A Start"Is that Peter Griffon singing?" .....First thought that went through my head during the first track. I found Tom's voice extremely abrasive at first. Obviously things started to fall into place for me after a few more spins. While his lyrics remain a bit depressing the music counteracts them with blasts of uplifting, screechy guitar riffs, energetic drumming, and chugging basslines. I'll admit my ranking was swayed partially by witnessing these newer songs live but it takes nothing away from the quality of this album. Fans of Interpol and Joy Division should be sure to check this out.
Favorite Tracks: Escape The Nest, An End Has A Start, Bones, Spiders
1. Caspian - The Four Trees I'll admit before this release I was a huge fanboy of Caspian. I still am. This is because Caspian takes emotions derived from life experiences and funnels them through amps, pedals, drum skins, and strings......at huge volumes. Never before have I listened to an album that lived and breathed so many human traits and feelings. Never before has this musical relationship brought me so close to tears. This music is transcendant........I know it sounds pretentious but it's some of the most passionately gripping music i've ever experienced. Add in the lack of any vocal presence and you realize this is something special.
Favorite Tracks: Moksha, Brombie, ASA, The Dove